“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
One statement of Jesus that has a deep and significant impact on me is “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
I read and memorized this verse when I was a small kid attending one of the summertime Daily Vacation Bible School or DVBS.
What started then as rote memorization became a journey gradually to my search for the ‘abundant life.’
I was born to parents who are both theology graduates, and I grew up with them working from church to church.
Because we lived from parsonage to parsonage, I would often say jokingly, “no permanent address,” when asked where we live.
Experiencing the economic and psychological hardships and challenges of being a son of a rural pastor, I would always wonder about that abundant life that the Great Teacher expressed that He came for us to have.
Also, how can I affirm my confidence in the abundant life that Jesus Christ promised when I experienced injustice, dishonesty, corruption, jealousy, envy, and all kinds of strife through and among the very faithful followers of him?
Where is an abundance when the people of God would go through hunger and poverty because opportunities have become scarce after making a stand for what is right?
Of course, it is easy to understand what abundant life is in the context of the material world.
I grew up with the carnal understanding that to live a life of plenty is always to have more than enough food to eat and you have lots of money to experience living the lifestyle of the rich, like a good house, cars, travels, parties, and anything that a person or family could wish for.
Thus, while keeping my heart and mind the questions I had, I chartered my course towards prosperity.
My goals were to study hard in high school to get a college scholarship, graduate from a course that would be my ticket to get high-paying jobs, do well in my chosen career, and finally, live comfortably in affluence.
Then I was well on my way to fulfilling my goals, sailing smoothly, successfully achieving victories left and right.
However, later on, after almost a decade of searching and chasing, I reflected on all my striving and struggling using all the gifts God endowed me to gain the prosperity that I sought. I found myself living a meaningless life.
I exhausted all means to meet my goals, but I found out that when everything in life redounds to achieving financial gain compromising the basic values of truth and justice, I can not find real peace and happiness.
So, where could I find true abundant life if it is not present in having material affluence alone?
In late 1995, I was working in Manila for almost two years. I resigned from my job with an international NGO, which I found to be a corrupt organization. I prayed and reflected on the Lord’s direction for my life.
Finally, after many years of a tiring journey, my search led me to one great discovery – that abundant life is using my fullest potential for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, I discovered that living my life to the fullest is having all my faculties, availability, and resources of good use for the glory of God.
Life has never been so fulfilling when you are doing something that uses all your God-given gifts, regardless of whether or not you have money in your pocket. This might sound fatalistic to some of you, but I call it faith in God’s provision.
Surprisingly, the more I focused on having my fullest potential be used for him, the more blessings keep coming and coming – I have discovered the abundant life.
Indeed, Jesus Christ has come to give life and have it abundantly.
PHOTO CREDIT: Joven Baloyo